Placing blocks & holds on listing requests to designate terrorists without any rhyme or reason must end: India at UNSC

Yoshita Singh
·4-min read

United Nations, Jan 12 (PTI) India on Tuesday told the UN Security Council that the practice of placing blocks and holds without 'any rhyme or reason” on requests to designate terrorists and terror groups must end, an apparent reference to China which had repeatedly blocked New Delhi's bids to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

'We must not countenance double standards in this battle. Terrorists are terrorists; there are no good and bad ones. Those who propagate this distinction have an agenda. And those who cover up for them are just as culpable,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.

'Accordingly, we must reform the working methods of the Committees dealing with Sanctions and Counter Terrorism. Transparency, accountability and effectiveness are the need of the day. The practice of placing blocks and holds on listing requests without any rhyme or reason must end. This only erodes our collective credibility,” he said in virtual address.

Jaishankar was speaking at the UNSC Ministerial Meeting on ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts: International cooperation in combating terrorism 20 years after the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001),’ the first address by Jaishankar to the Security Council after India began its two-year tenure on the 15-nation body this month.

Before India succeeded in its nearly 10-year long efforts to have Pakistan-based Azhar designated as a global terrorist at the UN, China, Islamabad's all-weather ally, had repeatedly blocked New Delhi’s attempts to list the Pakistan-based terrorist under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

In May 2019, India had registered a huge diplomatic win when the UN slapped sanctions against Azhar after China lifted its hold on the proposal to blacklist him. Beijing had earlier put the hold on the proposal, scuttling yet another attempt to blacklist the JeM chief.

The proposal was the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as a global terrorist. Beijing lifting its hold was a massive diplomatic win for India, which had relentlessly pursued the matter with its international allies.

Jaishankar also underlined that enlisting and delisting individuals and entities under the UN sanctions regimes must be done objectively, “not for political or religious considerations. Proposals in this regard merit due examination before circulation.” Last year, Pakistan had made attempts to get four Indian nationals listed as terrorists under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

Pakistan's attempt was thwarted as the US, the UK, France, Germany and Belgium blocked the move in the Council as no evidence was given by Pakistan in its case to get the individuals listed.

'Pakistan's blatant attempt to politicise 1267 special procedure on terrorism by giving it a religious colour, has been thwarted by UN Security Council. We thank all those Council members who have blocked Pakistan's designs,” India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti had tweeted.

India had said that the 1267 Committee works on the basis of evidence and not random accusations thrown in to divert their time and attention.

In his address, Jaishankar, the senior-most Indian leader to address the UNSC since India joined the 15-member council this month, also emphasised that the global community must firmly discourage “exclusivist thinking” that divides the world and harms the social fabric.

“Such approaches facilitate radicalisation and recruitment by breeding fear, mistrust, and hatred among different communities. The Council should be on guard against new terminologies and misleading priorities that can dilute our focus,” he said.

He voiced concern that in recent years, terrorist groups and lone wolf attackers have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to new and emerging technologies, including drones, virtual currencies and encrypted communications.

Social media networks have also contributed to the radicalisation and recruitment of youth, he said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only aggravated the situation. The relative isolation and extended disruption due to the lockdowns and the associated distress and economic uncertainty has made the world more susceptible to radicalising narratives and extremist propaganda,” he said.

The minister said that UNSC Resolution 1373, adopted in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, is a reminder that terrorism continues to be the gravest threat to mankind.

“It not only grievously impacts human life but uproots the very foundation of humanity,” Jaishankar said adding that India has always been at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts.

In 1996, long before the adoption of Resolution 1373, India took the initiative to pilot the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism with the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combating terrorism.

“We have signed and ratified all the major conventions and protocols on terrorism adopted by the UN, and are part of all major global initiatives in that regard,” he said. PTI YAS AKJ AKJ